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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ezekiel's Vision of Today's Ingathering

Who do you think the two kingdoms are discussed in the 37th chapter of Yechezkel? (It was this past week's Haftora) Do you think it's talking about Lost tribes?

When I was in college I realized that this passage is actually talking about today. The vision of Ezekiel is that the time will come (in the end of days) when there will be, once again, two Jewish kingdoms - two great centers of Judaism. There will be a great rift between them, but in the end they will have to consolidate into one. I realized in NY that the time had come to make this vision come to pass. American Jewry and Israeli Jewry must reunite in Israel...

Read it carefully and you will see that it must be talking about today. The passage before, the famous Dry Bones vision, is the description of the Holocaust and the rebirth of the nation in the Holy Land. Then, in the next passage (below) is the vision of the ingathering that follows the rebirth. This is not about the Second Temple - it's too big.

I know what a hard time we are living in. When a father of 7 is murdered by killers who were already in prison once - it stings and makes us wonder whether we are really 'home'. But, the bottom line is that we are home, and that with all the challenges and pain, the vision is coming into focus.

Where are you in this picture? Are you part of the vision? Are you reuniting the Jewish nation on the Land of Israel? American Jewry, that other great center of Judaism must make its way home. Read the Haftora below with this understanding of who the two kingdoms are and decide whether you want to be part of the new grand coronation of the nation!

16. "And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, `For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions'; then take another stick and write on it, `For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.'
17. "Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand.
18. "When the sons of your people speak to you saying, `Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?'
19. say to them, `Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand."'
20. "The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.
21. "Say to them, `Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land;
22. and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms.

23. "They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God.
24. "My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them.
25. "They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever.
26. "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever.
27. "My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
28. "And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.""'

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Make Aliyah and Help Save Israel

By Michael Berezin: We are at a turning point my fellow Jews. The meager support we once had here in Israel stemming from Europe and America, is quickly slipping away. They have bought the Arab narrative or at the very least are choosing to support the Arab side, based on their own domestic demographic based fears. What this means is that our enemies have become emboldened. They know we can't use our fancy killing devices because of the hard work of proud capos such as Goldstone. So as a result they demand more for nothing and stockpile better weapons to one day kill us with.

Wait wait it gets better. At the same time that our enemies are both threatening to destroy us and mocking us with an all or nothing peace approach. We are fighting with our own people and telling them that for this charade they can't extend their porches or complete houses already paid for. How can this be? Where is the outrage? At what point are we going to realize that either we stay and fight for our right to be here, or we say forget it, pack up and leave. Perhaps we can join the ex Israelis in Forrest Hills. Or maybe downward to Sydney. From what I hear its a great place to enjoy the sun and learn Hebrew from the locals...

The silly post Zionists will have you believe that if it weren't for these pesky roaches I mean settlers peace would reign supreme. Never mind that if the Arabs wanted peace they would have had it at any time in the last 40 years. I mean who can forget all the wonderful goodness, the Arabs were bestowing on us prior to 1967. You know the famous 29' massacres notice how the number 29 comes before 67? or the independence war of 48'. Lets not forget the celebration of Hamas celebrating 22 years. All our concessions have really helped stem the tide of terrors popularity.

Ok we get it. The situation sucks. Why should we want to be a part of it? What will making Aliyah do to help any of this?

Back to the turning point. Now if you follow the news you will see how there seems to be two Israels. One which bows down to the farce of democracy, fears world isolation--> not G-d and sees the land as a commodity to be offered around, the other says "no and to hell with world pressure (which wouldn't go away anyhow) this is our land and we aren't going anywhere". You might recognize them as being referred to as crazy extremists.

Once upon a time it was not only good but it was inspiring to be called a settler. Many might not know this but Petah Tikvah was a settlement, actually the first one. Nobody would ever call that place a settlement now or think of it as occupied illegal land. Except, and here is a little secret the Arabs actually do see it this way. What's even crazier is that they don't keep it a secret they say it all the time. We for some reason can't hear it no matter how loud they say it, act it, and live it.

This is where you come in. By making Aliyah you are letting the world know that this land is your right and that you are here to stay. Now since the whole country will always be treated as a settlement enterprise, pissing off those who hate us anyway, you can live anywhere you want! Doesn't matter if its Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or Gush Etzion. Eventually we will internalize the fact that they are after the whole thing. When that day comes will you board the plane then?

We are at a critical juncture. Either we embrace Palestinian Nationalism or we embrace our G-d given right to be here. Everyone who values holding on to this land needs to be here and make there presence felt. You could have all the best of intentions about Israel but if you don't wake up here in the morning then it doesn't do much for the cause. All this nonsense of demographics would be put to rest if more Jews from America and beyond could see the writing on the wall and take the plunge.

This would pave the way for a national consensus built on the notion that we are all settlers and thats a good thing. Don't wake up on the wrong side of history, make Aliyah this week!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

The Aliyah Revolution Album gets a great review in Makor Rishon

The Israeli newspaper "Makor Rishon" (my favorite Hebrew paper by far) wrote a great review of our new album. They see it as part of the cultural revolution of the Aliyah movement, and I agree. The Aliyah Revolution will bring about a burst of cultural renewal, for as we come home, we reunite with our people, our land, and our traditions, and fuse Israel with what have learned in the Diaspora. It's all happening. (Click on the photograph to enlarge and read the article for yourself)

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Crisis Spurs Migration to Israel

By SARA TOTH STUB of the Wall Street Journal

JERUSALEM -- Immigration into Israel and the Palestinian West Bank is surging after the financial crisis and economic downturn evaporated jobs elsewhere.

After years of a brain drain from the region, and despite the lack of a peace settlement, by the end of this month about 4,000 North American Jews will have immigrated to Israel this year, an increase of 33% over 2008 and the most in one year since 1973, according to Nefesh B'Nefesh, an organization that oversees and assists with immigration to Israel from North America.

Immigrants to Israel often have a longstanding desire to move, but the economic crisis has pushed them to make the jump this year, said Danny Oberman, executive vice president of Israel operations for Nefesh B'Nefesh. "The economy has a lot to do with it," Mr. Oberman said.

The crisis is also having an impact on the West Bank, which is seeing the return of hundreds of Palestinians, mostly from the Persian Gulf, looking for work as the economy there sours. The West Bank economy -- separate from Israel's -- is expected to grow 5% in 2009.

No official figures are available yet for how many Palestinians have made the move, but the International Monetary Fund is planning to study the issue over the next month.

"The economic crisis worked to our advantage," said Bashar al-Masry, a Palestinian real-estate developer overseeing an $800 million project to build a new Palestinian city north of Ramallah. "We're seeing more and more people willing to come back."

Amjad Sandoka, 36 years old, a civil engineer from Jerusalem, said he went to work in Dubai seven years ago, but came back in October and found a job in Ramallah. He took a job in the West Bank because he figured he would likely lose his Dubai post, after watching hundreds of people around him being let go.

"I started to feel the crisis there; on the other hand, I heard there was lots of work in the West Bank," Mr. Sandoka said.
More on Israel

Israel's economy, fueled mainly by the software, biomedical, weapons-manufacturing and diamond sectors, has grown at least 4% a year from 2004 to 2008. And Israel has a lower unemployment rate than the U.S., at 7.8%, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, next to 10.2% in October in the U.S. The Bank of Israel has raised interest rates twice since August, to its current level of 1%, at a time when banks around the world are cutting rates or leaving them low.

Israel also has almost no exposure to Dubai debt because the Arab League boycott prevents Israelis from investing there. That boycott also lessens the impact the Dubai crisis might normally have had on Israeli exports.

Palestinian Minister of National Economy Hassan Abu-Libdeh cautions that the Palestinian economy might ultimately suffer from the downturn in Dubai, because many Palestinian families rely on remittances sent from relatives working there. Oussama Kanaan, IMF representative in the West Bank and Gaza, said Palestinian remittances made up 10% of Palestinian gross domestic product in 2008. Income from Palestinians working in Israel makes up an additional 12% of Palestinian GDP.

Any impact of lower remittances would most likely be softened if those workers find work in the West Bank. With a building boom under way in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities, fueled partly by international aid money totaling $1.7 billion in 2008, many returning from Dubai are finding jobs.

In Israel, North American immigrants are making significant contributions to the economy, according to a recent study by consulting firm Deloitte Information Technologies Israel Ltd. U.S. immigrants who came between 2002 and 2008 have contributed directly 989 million shekels ($262 million) to the Israeli economy, the study said.

Zumi Brody immigrated to Israel with his wife and four young children in August. Mr. Brody, a vice president of a bank, said he had to sell his home in St. Louis for less than what he paid for it to make the move, but paying at least $10,000 per child to attend Jewish day school would have been burdensome. In Israel, his children can attend a state-funded school and still learn Hebrew and Jewish studies.

The increase in immigration from America also shows a change in the image and economy of Israel. The country is in the process of entering the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and has been upgraded from a developing to a developed economy, said Glenn Yago, an economist at the Milken Institute in Jerusalem.

This wave of American immigration suggests that Israel is shifting "from its primary, historical role as a refuge of last resort to a human- and financial-capital destination of first resort," Mr. Yago said.

Separately, on Wednesday, Israeli police arrested the mayor of a West Bank Jewish settlement after protesters blocked security forces from entering the community to enforce a construction freeze, the Associated Press reported. The showdown was the most serious incident of settler unrest since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week announced the 10-month building freeze, which bars the construction of new homes in West Bank settlements.

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